Deutsch 101-326 an der Universität Michigan

German on the Web
Learning Strategies

German Dept.
Max Kade House
German Club

PONS online dict.
L.E.O. online dict.
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Deutsch 325--004: Deutsch für Ingenieure I: Kursinformation Herbst 2014
Dozent, Sprechstunden Lehrbücher
Notenschema; Quiz Anwesenheit und Beteiligung
Journal-Eintragungen, andere Hausaufgaben und Lesestrategien Präsentationen

Dozent: Hartmut Rastalsky; 3214 MLB; 647-0404 (Büro)/929-0628 (zu Hause)

Sprechstunden: Dienstag 2-3 (Deutschlabor im Language Resource Center in North Quad), Mittwoch 3-4 (3214 MLB), und nach Verabredung.


Required Meyers Lexikonverlag: Wie funktioniert das? Technik heute. 6th ed., 2010 [ISBN: 9783411088560]

Harper Collins German Unabridged Dictionary, 7th Ed. [ISBN: 0061374903]

Recommended Martin Durell: Hammer's German Grammar and Usage, 5th ed. [ISBN: 1444120166]
Dictionary Recommendations
  • By far the best online dictionaries are PONS,, and LEO. Links to them are in the navigation bar on the left. For ordinary language and basic technical terms, start with PONS, which is very helpful in choosing the right word. LEO has a bigger database of technical terms, and provides easier access to noun plurals and verb conjugations. is a good compromise between the two. It has great "crowd-sourced" pronunciation samples and is customizable in lots of cool ways. If in doubt, check your results by a Google search and/or by comparing German and English wikipedia entries.
  • The Harper Collins German Unabridged Dictionary is a great, comprehensive reference.
  • Excellent comprehensive technical dictionaries are Brandstetter's Wörterbuch der industriellen Technik and Langenscheidt's Fachwörterbuch Technik und angewandte Wissenschaften, but these are very expensive, and liable to become outdated.


Anwesenheit und Beteiligung 20%
Aufsätze 20%
Hausaufgaben: Journal-Eintragungen, Vokabelsätze usw. 20%
Quiz 20%
1. Gruppenpräsentation 10%
2. Gruppenpräsentation 10%


Wir werden ungefähr alle 3 oder 4 Unterrichtsstunden einen Quiz haben. Jeder Quiz testet das, was wir seit dem letzten Quiz gemacht haben (Vokabeln, Texte, Grammatik usw.)

Anwesenheit und Beteiligung:

  • To receive an "A" for attendance and participation, you must attend, be on time [pünktlich], and participate well.
  • ***Speaking and listening in class are an essential part of this course ==> If you have more than TEN absence hours [defined below] at the end of the semester, your FINAL COURSE GRADE will be an AUTOMATIC E***
    • If you have 8 - 10 absence hours, your ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION GRADE (20% of your final course grade) decreases by two full grades (e.g. a "B" becomes a "D")
    • If you have 4.5 - 7.5 absence hours, your ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION GRADE (20% of your final course grade) decreases by one full grade (e.g. a "B" becomes a "C")
    • The more often you arrive late to class, the lower your attendance and participation grade will be
    • Ask me about ways to make up "absence hours," such as attending the conversation hours in North Quad or the MLB. You can make up a maximum of three absence hours.
    • Please explain all absences, in advance if possible. Excused absences count as half an "absence hour," i.e. for example 8 excused absences + 2 unexcused absences = 6 "absence hours."
    • Absences for the following reasons will generally be excused: medical, psychological or family issues, family events such as weddings, baptisms or graduations, job interviews, trips for musical performances, debates or athletic events in which you are participating, etc.
    • Absences for the following reasons will generally be unexcused (but please still tell your instructor what's going on, so s/he won't think you've stopped caring!): oversleeping, hangovers, studying or completing work for another class, fraternity or sorority events, trips to attend concerts or athletic events, family trips, etc.

Journal-Eintragungen, andere Hausaufgaben und Lesestrategien:

  • Whenever you are assigned a text to read, you need to hand in a written assignment based on your reading. Unless the homework plan specifically states otherwise, you always have the following two choices for doing this:
    • EITHER you can write an informal (handwritten or typed) journal entry about each text you are assigned. Journals should be at least 100 words in length and should indicate that you have spent a reaonable amount of time on the reading (i.e. at least an hour, unless you can get a good understanding of the text in less time). Your journal can be a reaction to what you read, a summary of what you read, something in between, or something more creative.
    • OR you can write 10-12 "Vokabelsätze": sentences based on the text using vocabulary from the vocabulary list for that text (please underline the vocabulary words you are using). In writing your ten sentences, please try to use your own words as much as possible.
  • Your journals, vocab sentences and all other homework will be graded on a "check"/"check plus"/"check minus" scale based mainly on content. A journal/set of Vokabelsätze that indicates that you have spent enough time on that week's reading gets a "check." Late journals/sets of Vokabelsätze or journals/sets of Vokabelsätze that are too short or look like you may not have done the reading carefully enough get a "check minus." "Check plusses" are awarded for journals/Vokabelsätze whose content and/or German is outstanding.

Please think in terms of reading texts multiple times instead of just once thoroughly: skim them once quickly for the main idea, one more time to select a few words you think you will need to look up, and then once carefully. Try to guess the meanings of unfamiliar words using the context, your knowledge of the subject, similarities to related English terms, etc. If your guess turns out not to make sense, you can always still go back and look the word up. Don't feel guilty if you don't look up every unknown word: feel guilty if you do! Of course, you should also feel guilty if you have no idea what's going on in the text and you don't look up the words that seem important


Each of you is responsible for two group presentations, each no longer than 20 minutes (no longer than 15 minutes for groups of two). Grades for the presentations will be based primarily (40% each) on their content and comprehensibility, and also on the accuracy of your German.

Presentations should be in German, and should be done using PowerPoint [==> Important phrases: "Nächste Folie" = "next slide"; "noch nicht" = "not yet"; "Zurück!" = "back!"]. You should focus your efforts on making what you say comprehensible to the other students in the class. In particular, this includes

    • giving your presentation based on minimal notes. No more than about 25% of the words you actually end up saying should already be on your Powerpoint slides. In addition, you may use one easily legible cue card for additional information such as technical data, statistics, and a couple of "prompts" as reminders for yourself in case you get stuck. Your partners can also prompt you if you get stuck; your group should discuss how you will handle this if it comes up. If you are reading your presentation, you can be sure it will be difficult for the rest of the class to follow ==> if you do not follow these guidelines, your "comprehensibility" grade will be a "C" or lower.
    • using diagrams and key words on your PowerPoint slides to help the class follow along. Use multiple slides in order to divide the information you're presenting into manageable "chunks."
    • making a handout. This handout should include
      • a list of 10-20 vocabulary items. This should also be the first slide of your presentation, and you should begin your presentation by having the class repeat this vocabulary ["Wiederholen Sie bitte!"]--so be sure you can pronounce it!
      • a 5-8 line summary of your main points. This should also be the second slide of your presentation, and you should read it to the class ==> it should not exceed 8 lines
      • some questions to be answered by the class at the end of your presentation. These questions should also be the last slide of your presentation
      • the guidelines above about not reading do not apply to these three slides (i.e. the vocabulary, summary and questions)

      You should bring copies of the handout to class to accompany your presentation. Please email me your handout as an attachment in Microsoft Word at least four days before your presentation, in order to leave time for me to correct it if necessary.

      If you do not make a handout, your "comprehensibility" grade will be a "C" or lower.

Your presentation can (but need not) be based on a text from Wie funktioniert das, but should include some information that is not in the text. You could discuss any combination of the following topics:

  • how "it" works
  • what can go/has gone wrong with "it" and how this can be/has been fixed
  • how "it" can be made particularly well
  • how "it" could be improved/developed in the future
  • a brief outline of "its" history/discovery/development. A list of names and dates by itself is not very interesting, but a brief indication of what aspects of the technology had been developed at each stage, and which were still missing, can be a great introduction to the presentation.
  • interesting/unexpected applications of this technology
  • if you can find information about a German/Austrian/Swiss company that manufactures "it," you could describe any outstanding/characteristic features of the product as it is manufactured by this company
  • it's great if you can actually bring in an example of "it" (or parts of it) to show or even pass around during your presentation
  • you should include more than just the information in Wie funktioniert das? Use German sources for any additional material in order to avoid translating from English, which would be likely to lower your comprehensibility grade.

If you plan for each of you to speak for about 4 minutes, chances are that each of you will end up taking about 5 minutes. Including the time it will take for

    • your group to have the class repeat the vocabulary, and to read the summary to the class
    • the class to answer the questions on your handout when you are finished
    • the class (and myself) to ask you questions afterwards

this should make your presentation be of the appropriate length.

Practicing for your Presentation & Avoiding Nervousness: It is a very good idea for you to practice giving your presentation out loud several times before you actually give it. You can either do this as a group, or individually. You should try actually saying out loud (quietly if necessary) all the words you will say in your presentation, using only the minimal notes on your PowerPoint slides and one notecard. Use a stopwatch when you do this, to make sure your part of the presentation takes about 4 minutes. If your part takes longer than 6 minutes, this will be a problem for the other group, and the other members of your group!

Eye Contact: Make eye contact [=der Blickkontakt] regularly with individual students in your audience (rather than looking at the class as a whole). This will give you a better feel for your audience, and will help your audience to be more attentive, and to understand you better. It's also extremely helpful if you're feeling nervous, because it changes the situation from you speaking to a big group to you speaking to a series of individuals in turn. You should be looking primarily at your fellow students, and at most occasionally at me.


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